Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 11-17, 2016

Tipsday is chock full of informal writerly learnings!

K.M. Weiland digs into subtext and gives practical examples for how you can identify and apply subtext in your stories. Helping writers become authors

Later in the week, Kate shares more lessons from the MCU: how to choose the right antagonist for your story.

Roz Morris offers an exercise to show how you can shape your tone in your novel. Nail your novel

Vaughn Roycroft discusses the importance of storytelling in turbulent times. Writer Unboxed

Sara Letourneau helps you find the “why” behind your story. DIYMFA

David Corbett helps you fill linguistic holes with some super fun words. Writer Unboxed

Carly Watters shares four ways to write better dialogue.

Jami Gold: when is backstory necessary? Later in the week, Jamie returns with tips on balancing your story elements.

Margie Lawson offers her rule #17: finessing backstory. Writers in the storm

David H. Safford guest posts on Writers Helping Writers with advice on hunting down story holes using a novel journal.

Janice Hardy continues her blog tour on Marcy Kennedy’s blog. Create an editorial map to make revisions easier. This is, incidentally, part of my process 🙂

Karen Woodward explores short story structure.

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jerry Jenkins on DIYMFA radio.

Christine Frazier compares Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Better Novel Project

Janet Reid shares six reasons she said “no,” recently.

Frances Caballo guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog. A social media strategy that works: CARE about your readers.

Tim Grahl shares his perspective on the effectiveness of Facebook as a marketing tool for authors.

Authors offer their best writing tips. The Guardian

The Baltimore Sun shares John E. McIntyre’s “trigger warning” from his editing class at Loyola University, Maryland.

Moira Donegan covers the Emily Books Symposium session: what is women’s writing? The Awl

Kerry Gold’s L’affaire Galloway explores the UBC incident in its context and subtext (because there’s so much that hasn’t been stated). The Walrus

Janet Reid shares her thoughts on the difference between racism and using potentially offensive language in context in response to one college’s unequivocal idea of cultural sensitivity.

Mary Robinette Kowal offers a textile metaphor for cultural appropriation.

Jim C. Hines unpacks Lionel Shriver’s speech on cultural appropriation.

And here’s Foz Meadows’ response to Lionel Shriver.

Related (because it occured at the same literary festival): a journalist quotes a writer without permission. Liz Spayd for The New York Times.

Award news! Sunburst Award winners announced!

Literary Hub interviews the Biblioasis Bookstore in Windsor.

Wordstock, Sudbury’s literary festival. Nov 3-5, 2016. CBC

Canadian literati are coming to Sudbury for Wordstock. South Side Story

Last week marked the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth. Here are a couple of the articles that were posted in tribute.

Shane Koyczan: 152 (audio only)

 

Wasn’t sure where to put this mixed bit of news. Sad to have lost him, but end-of-life issues are never simple and I honour his right to make this decision. Author W.P. Kinsella ended his life last week under Canada’s new assisted dying legislation. The Guardian

Take a look at Salvador Dali’s paintings of Alice in Wonderland. The Earth Child

Seanan McGuire digs into Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin. Tor.com

Joel Minty offers advice to first-time readers of Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon. Tor.com

Alex Brown reviews the fall 2016 television SFF line up for Tor.com.

Germaine Lussier reports that Disney’s new production of A Wrinkle in Time has its lead. i09

The Curiosity is a fairy tale film about selkies 😀 Germaine Lussier for i09.

Connie Verzak offers some fodder for Droughtlander sufferers. The Daily Record

Hope you enjoyed, my creative friends.

See you on Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Tipsday

Ad Astra 2016, day 2: Common mistakes from an editor’s perspective

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that needs correction or clarification, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com

Panellists: Dominik Parisien, Linda Poitevin, Nina Munteanu

MostCommonMistakes

With this session, I chose a different approach. There was a lot of discussion and insight, with examples from various editing projects, none of which I was able to capture effectively on the page. The editors focused on the three parts of a story, the beginning, middle, and end, and, interestingly enough, they discussed three main problems with each part of a story.

As a result, this is a very point-form summary of the main points of the panel.

So here’s the description of the panel from the program:

Whether it’s easy-to-correct grammatical errors or awkward sentence structure, or more complex issues related to characterization, plot, or research, in this panel you’ll hear real editors share the most common mistakes that they see new or inexperienced writers make and tips on how to avoid them. They’ll tell you the things they encounter that have a simple fix, but also the things they encounter that are warning signs of larger problems.

Problems with beginnings

  • Not starting in the right place. Too early (prologues/backstory) or too late (character in danger immediately/no reader investment).
  • Not hooking the reader. If the reader puts the book down, you’re done before you’ve even gotten started.
  • Not having a distinctive, crisp voice.

Mel’s note: Most of these problems can only be solved by experience, either the author’s own, gained through practice, or by leveraging the experience of others, with the help of good critique partners/beta readers/freelance editor.

Problems with middles

  • Solving the character’s problem too early in the narrative. The story ends when the character achieves their goal.
  • Not knowing the story you’re telling/theme.
  • Presenting event after event to get the character from point A (the beginning) to point B (the end).

Mel’s note: Points two and three are related. If you don’t have a handle on your story and its theme, you’re most often going to end up with a series of unrelated events. My recommendation: read Steven Pressfield’s blog and books, and read to Shawn Coyne’s (Steven’s editor) Story Grid book and blog (and now podcast with Tim Grahl—excellent).

Problems with endings

  • Not ending (!).
  • Setting up for a series when the novel is a standalone, or failing to set up for another book when it’s a series.
  • No payoff for the reader/unsatisfactory ending.

Mel’s note: Begin with the ending in mind, even if you’re a die-hard pantser. Endings are torture if you’ve given them no thought until you get there and you’ll likely finish your draft with a hefty case of post-partum depression. Also, one of your editing exercises should be to ‘reverse engineer’ your story from the ending back to the beginning. You can see where important bits of foreshadowing need to be.

And that is my final entry in Ad Astra 2016 reportage. There were readings and launches and the Guest of Honour Brunch, but I wanted to enjoy those rather than record notes on them 😉

See you on Tipsday!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 26-July 2, 2016

Easing back on the overwhelm of writerly goodness this week. You’re welcome 🙂

K.M. Weiland shares five secrets of creating complex supporting characters. Helping writers become authors. Kate returns with more lessons from the Marvel movies: use minor characters to flesh out your protagonist.

Bonnie Randall guests on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University: the Pandora ’s Box of having ‘been there.’

Steven Pressfield: The Dude abides, but in what genre?

Jami Gold helps you strengthen your writing with rhetorical devices (and the angels sing—I lurve rhetorical devices).

Angela Ackerman guest posts on DIYMFA: the top five mistakes writers make when it comes to setting.

Oren Ashkenazi offers a counterpoint to his post of last week. Five bad ideas science fiction teaches us to love. Mythcreants

Kristiana Willsey says that hunger is the beginning of every folktale. The Toast

Tim Grahl: how to use fear to beat resistance.

Marcy Kennedy asks, is it important for writers to be readers? Spoiler: It’s an emphatic, duh, yes!

Jeff Goins tell us everything we need to know about Facebook Live on the Portfolio Life podcast.

Alice Adams considers the question, why does anyone write? Literary Hub

Lincoln Michel teaches you everything you wanted to know about book sales but were afraid to ask. Electric Lit

This is shameful. The journalist who risked her life going undercover in North Korea had her expose marketed as an Eat, Pray, Love-style memoir. Anna Merlan for Jezebel.

Alison Stine explores Labyrinth and the dark heart of childhood. The Atlantic.

I think these Game of Thrones/Legend of Korra mash ups are amazing. What about you? Movie Pilot

The Game of Thrones finale confirms game-changing fan theory. Entertainment Weekly.

Also, Game of Thrones showrunners confirm that there are only 13 to 15 episodes left. Wah! They really pulled last year’s plot poopers out of the fire this year. Oh well. i09

Germain Lussler wonders why more people aren’t talking about the Preacher series. Phil and I are enjoying it 🙂 i09 Later in the week, he reports that Preacher season two will return with 13 episodes. YAY!

AMC’s Preacher series is different from the comics, but you’ll probably really like it anyway. James Hibberd for Entertainment Weekly.

And that was your informal writerly earnings for the week.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 30-September 5, 2015

W00t! This past week was all about the writerly goodness!

K.M. Weiland explains how to write a sequel that’s even better than the first book.

Are your plot and theme working together? Helping writers become authors.

Katie gives us a virtual tour of her writing space.

Why you should look into the psychology of writing and the cognitive science of the perfect writing routine. Brainpickings.

In the wake of his post on the mistakes of inexperienced writers, Chuck Wendig wrote on the subject of your discouragement.

How to be a successful writer: stop comparing yourself to everyone else. The Write Life.

Vaughan Roycroft explored how to rekindle your motivation on Writer Unboxed.

Then, Kristan Hoffman wrote about getting over the hump. Writer Unboxed.

Gabriela Pereira shares her mindfulness manifesto on the DIYMFA podcast.

Mike Swift writes about the singularity of voice for Writer Unboxed.

Joanna Penn points out five problems you should avoid in your first novel.

Chris Winkle lists 44 words to seek and destroy in your draft. Mythcreants.

Ginger Moran shares the four S’s of sustained creativity on Tim Grahl’s blog.

Steven Pressfield writes about resistance and hooks. In this context, hooks refer to the provocative comments readers make for and against you and/or your book.

Christine Frazier deconstructs back cover copy to help you writer your blurb. The Better Novel Project.

Bonnie Randall offers her book signing cheat sheet to those who wish to stay sane while everyone ignores them. Janice Hardy’s Fiction University.

Agent Carly Watters offers writing diversity campaigns, resources, terms, and tells you how to read between your lines.

Writers talk about the complexity of race. The Guardian.

Neil Gaiman: my parents didn’t have any . . . rules about what I couldn’t read. The Guardian.

J.R.R. Tolkien expounds on fairy tales, language, the psychology of fantasy, and why there’s no such thing as writing for children. Brainpickings.

The fun stuff: brain fart, bants, and fur baby added to the Oxford online dictionary. Writers Write.

Quirk Books found these ten music videos based on literature.

I hope something here helps to support your creative life.

I’ll be back on Thursday with a teeny tiny bit of thoughty.

See you then!

Tipsday